Having just returned from a 2 week stay at the Vera Club TMT, we had a lovely holiday overall. The hotel was in a beautiful location by the sea and the weather was hot, hot, hot! The food was plentiful throughout our 2 week stay with lots of choice. Some of the staff were amazing, particularly the entertainment team...a very special mention to Ender and Burak who were extremely friendly. The spa is worth a visit...we had a full Turkish bath and massage experience at the start of our stay, which I would highly recommend. Again, the spa staff were very friendly and professional. Right next door to the hotel is Bodrum town, a 10-15 minute walk, which had lots of shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. We went there a few times and the atmosphere was always excellent. We did not feel particularly hassled when we went shopping, probably helped by the fact everywhere was so busy in the evenings. Our 20 year old daughter went clubbing in Bodrum quite a few times with some new friends she met at the Vera. Ender and Burak from the entertainment team, along with other hotel staff, escorted people to the clubs and stayed with them throughout the evening so all guests had a lovely time and felt perfectly safe.
Although poor in quality, the hotel bedrooms had free air con and free safes to store valuables. Sunbeds were free and came with cushions and umbrellas. Towels were supplied and easily changeable in the Spa. The bars served bottle water. Boat trips went direct from the hotel jetty which was handy. There was a young German lady by the name of Elizabeth who spoke perfect English and offered private boat trips. She did not work for the Vera but you will see her walking around near the jetty in the mornings, where the diving boat is moored. Easy to spot as she is not wearing swim wear. We went on 2 private boat trips and loved every minute...lunch and afternoon tea were included in the price.
The front of house service at the Vera, ie. the bar staff, chefs and waiting staff were all very hit and miss. Whilst some of them did speak English in varying degrees, we found the majority did not, or even worse, did one day and played dumb the next day...all very mysterious and confusing to us! Please bear in mind that most of the guests were from the EEC and also spoke English to the staff, without exception. We learnt the hotel prefers to employ non-English speaking staff as this is cheaper for them and staff are less likely to leave for a better paid job elsewhere. If we had travelled to a far distant non-English speaking land and stayed in the middle of nowhere then I would expect to struggle with communication...not in an International hotel located in Turkey!
The bar staff either spoke very poor English, if at all, or in one case (not mentioning names) understood and spoke some English one day and gave me a blank expression every time I ordered drinks from him for the next few days...only then to understand me perfectly again? The words Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola and Cola Light are exactly the same in Turkish. On several occasions we were queueing to be served at the bar, along comes a Turkish speaking guest to the front of the queue and they were served immediately. If we were really lucky, the barman would be in the middle of serving us and then pause to serve a Turkish speaking guest upon demand?
The chefs cooking and serving in front of the guests were mainly grumpy and unapproachable due to the language barrier, unless you were a Turkish speaking guest that is. If you had any special requests such as asking for your liver to be cooked rare then forget it. The response I got from one Chef was extremely rude to say the least, which in fairness the Hotel did address when I complained on this one and only occasion.
With the waiting staff, some were really attentive and helpful whilst others seemd more concerned about clearing tables rather than serving people. A special mention to Omaykan who was our main waiter for the 2 weeks and did an excellent job. He was very friendly and always went out of his way for us.
During our stay we sunbathed next to the sea as it was much quiter than the pool area. At 7pm every evening the pool staff would appear to straighten up all the sunbeds. My girls were very lucky on several occasions to go on a surprise sunbed ride whereby they would be physically relocated with the sunbed as the pool boys were clearly on a timescale...hilarious behaviour that I have never experienced before. We had a Turkish family next to us that had tipped the pool boys to reserve their sunbeds each morning in exactly the same location. One morning we happened to be encroaching on this 'reserved' location and upon trying to move us over my wife told them where to go...that's my girl :-) Tips talk in Turkey and you will see plenty of tip boxes around the Vera to remind you of this fact...I have never experienced so many tip boxes...EVER!
I was a Chef for 18 years and have worked in hotels that entertain guests from all nationalities. Whilst it is true to say that I am not multilingual, I always tried to understand the guests if they didn't speak English, I would speak in French or very bad German, or ask for help on behalf of the guests. At no point in my 18 year career did I ever experience one chef, waiter, barman or any other member of staff ignoring or being rude to a guest because they didn't understand them. I have always believed in treating people how I want to be treated, especially when they are paying good money for a good experience...the Vera is not overly expensive but for it's overall level of service it is certainly not cheap!
Based on professional experience in the industry, the crux of the issue is down to the hotel management. Whilst we saw managers everyday of our stay they do not get directly involved with the guests, with the exception of the entertainment manager. You will either see them walking around or sitting in one of the bars drinking, or in one of the restaurants eating. You will never hear a manager asking you if you are having a good time, either for fear of hearing any bad news or because they are indifferent. Upon checking out after a 2 week stay we were not even asked if we had a good holiday. If managers look miserable or avoid friendly interaction with the guests then it is no wonder that a lot of staff follow their example! They will see this as acceptable behaviour. The managers seemed more concerned about their status as managers rather than what they should be managing...ensuring the staff are doing their job properly along with ensuring all the guests are happy, irrelevant of what language the guests speak.
In many aspects the Vera Club is geared up to serve Turkish speaking guests. We did meet some amazing fellow guests at the hotel as well as some wonderful staff. Even though the overall experience of ordering drinks or interacting with the chefs was pretty dismal, we did not let this spoil our holiday. This is not our first time to Turkey and it will not be the last. We will certainly revisit Bodrum but the front of house service would have to dramatically improve for me personally to be persuaded to go back to the Vera Club TMT. If this was sorted out, along with the quality of the bedrooms and general maintenance throughout the hotel (fixing things that are broken) the Vera Club would be an amazing place to stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Vera Club Tmt Hotel Bodrum
- Vera Hotel Bodrum
- Vera Hotel Tmt